Artist of The Week: Michael Rudokas

Michael Rudokas received his MFA from Hunter College in New York City and his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Visual Art from Marlboro College in Vermont. His first solo exhibition, Terrible Shadow, will be on view at Denny Gallery in New York City from March 20 to April 27, 2014.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. I studied both art and the philosophy of language as an undergraduate. Having always found a need to express things for which there are no words, early on I began making art. It has been one of the few constants in my life. My day job is working for an art advisor.

How has living in New York City affected your art practice? That’s a hard question. It’s a little like asking the hand what it’s like to be part of the body. Most of my materials, fabrics like denim and chiffon, are found here in Manhattan. In this way, my practice is deeply connected to the commerce of New York City.

 

Untitled, 2014. Cotton, chiffon and wood. 60 x 42 in. Courtesy the artist/Denny Gallery, NYC.

 

What kinds of things are influencing your work right now? 90’s couture, board games and day dreaming about the beach—the good life.

What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? I’m preparing for my first solo show at Denny Gallery in New York City, which opens on March 20th and runs through April 27th.

 

Untitled, 2014. Cotton, chiffon and house paint. 60 x 42 in. Courtesy the artist/Denny Gallery, NYC.

 

If you were a drink what drink would you be? By name alone, probably an old fashioned, or a juice box, like Juicy Juice, or Hawaiian punch.

How did your interest in art begin? I have no idea. When I was four years old, in pre-school, I was asked to draw a picture of what I wanted to be when I grew up. I drew myself in front of an easel; I wanted to be an artist. Maybe I’m just stubborn.

What artists are you interested in right now? Henri Matisse, Sigmar Polke, Segej Jensen, R.H. Quaytman, among others.

What past trends in art do you think should never come back? Painting en plein air—no one should ever paint outside!

 

Untitled, 2014. Canvas, denim, tablecloth and house paint. 60 x 42 in. Courtesy the artist/Denny Gallery, NYC.

 

Who would you ideally like to collaborate with? Recently, I’ve wanted to work with a textile designer to create custom fabrics.

Tell us about your work process and how it develops. I oscillate between calculation and accident. I rely on mistakes; someday I’ll get it right.

How long have you lived in New York City and what brought you there? I moved to New York in 2006 for Graduate School.

What do you want a viewer to walk away with after seeing your work? A breath of fresh air.

 

Untitled, 2013. House paint, acrylic, and denim. 27 x 21 in. Courtesy the artist/Denny Gallery, NYC.

 

What’s your absolute favorite place in the city/the world to be? I like the Whole Foods on Houston a lot.

Most embarrassing moment? See below.

Describe your current studio or workspace. My studio is in my home on the Lower East Side: a converted bedroom in the rear of the apartment, with access to an outdoor space.

 

Untitled (Railroad), 2013.Denim and silk chiffon. 27 x 21 in. Courtesy the artist/Denny Gallery, NYC.

 

What were you like in high school? A mean girl.

Can you share one of the best or worst reactions you have gotten as a result of your work? Once, in grad school, I did a performance, which made my professor cry—coincidentally, this was probably one of my most embarrassing moments—dancing Bob Fosse-like to Tina Turner in gold singing Sometimes When We Touch.